IELTS Shopping Vocabulary

Part 1 -style questions      

Examiner: Do you often go shopping for personal items?

Maxine: When I can afford it yes … my college is in the city centre and I do a lot of window shopping … but being a student I’m on a tight budget so I have to be careful with money

Examiner: Are there many shops where you live?

Jenny: We’ve got a few local shops nearby and a few independent stores but none of the big high street names … I have to go into town for them …

Examiner: Do you enjoy shopping?

Marco: It depends … I hate it when the sales are on … crowds of people all trying to snap up a bargain … I find it all a bit stressful … I also get annoyed when shop assistants try to give me the hard sell when all I want to do is look around …  

Part 2 -style task      

Describe a time when you bought something for someone. You should say
   – when this was
   – what is was you bought
   – who you bought it for
and say how you felt about buying it for them

Coleen: I’d like to tell you about the time … about four years ago … my husband and I bought a computer for our daughter … she was about to go to university and we’d promised her we would treat her to one … at the time there had been a big advertising campaign for the latest Apple Macbook and our daughter was very keen to have one … she kept telling us they were value for money … even though they seemed very expensive to us … anyway we tried to shop around to see if we could pick up a bargain … this was in the middle of the summer sales and wherever you went prices were being slashed on big brand names … but unfortunately not Apple products … we ended up having to pay the full price … I remember my daughter justifying the cost by pointing out how nice the Apple carrier bag was … but it was lovely to see her so excited and the customer service she’s received during the four years she’s had it has been excellent … so it was value for money after all …

Part 3 -style questions     

Examiner: Do you think we will stop using paper money in the future?

Louisa: I think it’s almost certain … at the moment it’s still possible to pay in cash but I’m sure this will change … the problem is people are more likely to get into debt and run up a credit card bill when this happens.

Examiner: How do companies encourage the consumer to spend their money?

Peter: Well … a recent development in my country is something called ‘Black Friday’ where people are encouraged to shop until they drop and buy the latest must-have products … then there are things like loyalty cards to get the customer back in the store …

Examiner: What do you think shops need to do to create a positive shopping experience?

Tania: The main thing for me is not being pressurised to buy … I appreciate that shop assistants are probably on commission but if I’m looking for clothes for example I like to take my time … to try something on … and to ask for help if I need it …



advertising campaign: a series of advertisements to persuade people to buy something

big brand names: large well-known companies or product names

to be careful with money: to not over-spend

carrier bag: bags (usually plastic) supplied by shops

customer service: the degree to which customers are treated well

to get into debt: to owe money

to give someone the hard sell: to put pressure on someone to buy something

high street names: well-known shops

independent stores: small shops independent of large companies

local shops: community shops

loyalty card: a card issued by a shop to allow customers to save money on the basis of what they spend

must-have product: a product that is very popular that a lot of people want to have

to be on a tight budget: to have a limited amount of money to spend

to be on commission: to pay someone in relation to the amount they sell

a pay in cash: to pay for something using coins or paper money

to pay the full price: to pay the full amount for something

to pick up a bargain: to buy something much cheaper than the normal price

to run up a credit card bill: to owe money on a credit card

to shop around: to try different shops to find the best deal

shop assistant: the person who serves customers

to shop until you drop: to do a lot of shopping

to slash prices: to reduce prices a great deal

to snap up a bargain: to buy something quickly that is being sold cheaply

summer sales: a period in the year when things are sold cheaply

to try something on: to see if an item of clothing fits or is suitable

to be value for money: to be worth the cost

window shopping: to visit a store to look at items without the intention of buying anything

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